The American legal system has many good points. Cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited by the Constitution, and one has a right to a trial by one's peers, for example. Additionally, both the prosecution and the defense have access to lawyers, who must argue their case in front of an...
The American legal system has many good points. Cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited by the Constitution, and one has a right to a trial by one's peers, for example. Additionally, both the prosecution and the defense have access to lawyers, who must argue their case in front of an impartial judge. One is found innocent until proven guilty. Jurors are to be impartial, and they are carefully screened during jury selection. While it is nearly impossible to have true impartiality in a case, lawyers' questioning can ensure that the jury has not made up its mind before the presentation of evidence. There are laws stating that one cannot be tried twice for the same crime and laws against self-incrimination.
There are many flaws in the system as well. The system seems to be stacked against minority defendants—jurors can be biased by their preconceived notions of minorities. Rich people can afford better lawyers than the poor, who often have to rely on public defenders. Public defenders often do not have the resources or time needed to best prosecute a case. Moreover, conditions inside American prisons, while they have improved, still involve violence. Just like in the legal system, prison staff members are often overworked given the duties they have to fulfill. It can take decades to mete out justice in capital punishment cases; in many circumstances, the prisoner dies of old age waiting on appeals to be filed and reviewed.
There is also the question of the law system itself, with many nonviolent crimes having mandatory minimum sentences. This leads to many non-violent offenders being locked into crowded prisons, with few options for rehabilitation once they are paroled. This leads to a high degree of recidivism. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world—this should be an issue in a nation that takes pride in its freedom.